800.515/5–145: Telegram

The Ambassador in Spain ( Armour ) to the Secretary of State

912. I presented to the Foreign Minister60 at noon today a note embodying the contents of Department’s telegram No. 668, April 22, 6 p.m.61 The following changes were made in its text:

There was inserted at the beginning of the penultimate sentence of article two, section 261a “That all future transactions in such assets be prohibited except under license by the Spanish Government and the principle for licensing of transactions, etc.”
The date January 1, 1939 was changed to September 1, 1939 wherever it occurred in the original text. It will be recalled that the Spanish Civil War did not terminate until April 1, 1939 and for a period of several months thereafter German and Italian soldiers, officers, etc., were being repatriated. Little new capital flowed into Spain during the months immediately succeeding the termination of the Civil War. As a change in date was necessary, in agreement with the British Chargé, it was determined that the date of the outbreak of European hostilities would be reasonable.

I stressed to Lequerica the great importance attached by our Government to this matter, making it clear that I felt Spain’s economic relationship not only with the United States, but with all of the United Nations, would be influenced by the extent to which the Spanish Government was disposed to cooperate in carrying into execution the measures proposed.

While stressing the importance we attached to all the points set forth in the note, I said that immediate action on points 1 and 2 (Bretton Woods Resolution VI and freezing of German assets) was essential, as well as agreement to set up forthwith machinery to undertake census of all assets (point 4), described in points 1 and 2.

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I mentioned to the Minister the prompt and effective action taken by the Swiss Government in relation to freezing, adding that proposals along lines similar to those made to Spain were being made to the Governments of Sweden and Portugal.

The Minister, who had an opportunity only to glance over the long note, said that he was impressed by the importance of the matters dealt with in it and assured me that it would be given the immediate attention of his Government. It was agreed that he would call me in again if possible before the end of the week to give me a preliminary reply for communication to my Government.

The British Chargé d’Affaires followed me in to the Minister handing him a note almost identical in phraseology with our own. Mr. Bowker’s oral remarks to the Minister followed substantially the same lines as mine.

Last evening my British colleague and I called in the French representative and handed him in advance copies of our respective notes. Mr. Truelle told us that, in view of the fact that he had already made representations to the Spanish Government on certain of the points affecting French interests set forth in our notes, he did not feel any action on his part was called for at this time and I judge that unless he receives specific instructions from his Government he will take no further action for the present.

Repeated to Paris as 174 and to Lisbon by pouch.

  1. José Felix Lequerica y Erquiza.
  2. See last paragraph of telegram 3158 to London, supra.
  3. Reference is to paragraph numbered 2 in the telegram printed supra.